In nearly all cases, a person who hoards animals is not able to break the cycle of accumulating inappropriately large numbers of animals on his or her own, according to the Mayo Clinic. An individual afflicted with hoarding disorder that includes amassing animals needs professional assistance as well. With that said, along with professional assistance, including psychotherapy, a person who hoards animals also needs to employ some important self-help strategies to break the cycle of animal hoarding.
The most fundamental self-help strategies a person who wants to break the cycle of animal hoarding needs to undertake include:
- Stick to a treatment plan
- Accept assistance
- Reach out to others
- Maintain personal hygiene
- Take small steps
- Look out for yourself
- Obtain proper nutrition
- Do what is best for the animals
Stick to a Treatment Plan
As mentioned a moment ago, trying to break the cycle of animal hoarding simply is not something that can be done alone. Professional assistance like psychotherapy is vital.
When a person with hoarding disorder undergoes psychotherapy, the therapist will develop a treatment plan in conjunction with the person seeking assistance. A key-element on the list of self-help strategies is to follow the treatment plan developed in psychotherapy.
Following the treatment plan is crucial for a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that the treatment plan for a person afflicted with animal hoarding disorder will include a comprehensive listing of many of the other self-help strategies that are important to the overall process of successfully ending animal hoarding.
Overcoming animal hoarding is best accomplished when a person with this disorder is willing to accept assistance from other people. Of course, a mental health professional is a prime example of the type of person from who assistance should be accepted.
Other examples of people a person who hoards animals should accept assistance form include:
- Trusted family members
- Trusted friends
- Local resources
- Professional organizers
- Hoarder property cleanup specialists
- Hoarding support groups
Reach Out to Others
On a somewhat related note, in addition to accepting assistance you will want to more broadly reach out to other people. The stark reality is that animal hoarding nearly always leads to isolation and loneliness. Isolation and loneliness can aggravate an animal hoarding situation.
Odds are that an individual who hoards animals will not want visitors in his or her home. With that in mind, an animal hoarder should make an effort to reach out to friends and family members. A person dealing with animal hoarding can make plans to participate in activities with others that he or she previously enjoyed.
Support groups also come into play here. There are support groups designed specifically for people with hoarding disorder, including for people who hoard animals. There are support groups that can provide meaningful outlets for a person with hoarding disorder who otherwise might remain isolated and lonely.
Maintain Personal Hygiene
Many individuals who hoard animals neglect their own personal hygiene. This neglect can happen for a number of reasons, including not having easy access to things in a residence like a shower or bathtub. Thus, in order to maintain proper hygiene, the first step a person who hoards animals may need to take is to make a shower or bathtub available.
Psychological professionals have long known that maintaining decent personal hygiene is an important step for a person striving to address an array of different types of mental and emotional issues. Better personal hygiene typically results in a person feeling better about his or her self. Improved personal hygiene also allows a person to be more available and comfortable to interact with other people.
Take Small Steps
When it comes to self-help strategies for a person who hoards animals, small steps matter. Small steps matter on a number of levels, including restoring order to a residence where animal hoarding has occurred.
When it comes to cleaning up a home that has been the site of animal hoarding, a person with hoarding disorder can begin the process by taking on one room at a time until the entire process is completed.
Small steps can also be taken with reducing the number of animals in a person’s home. By this it is meant that an animal hoarder can reduce the number of animals a bit more gradually as appropriate homes are found for them. Of course, a gradual reduction can only occur if the health and wellbeing of the person who hoards and the animals alike can be protected by taking such a course.
Look Out for Yourself
Another self-help strategy for a person with hoarding disorder that involves animals is to “look out for yourself.” This means coming to an understanding that a person who hoards deserves to live in a space that isn’t chaotic.
In addition, looking out for yourself is doing things that a person has enjoyed in the past. The reality is that as a hoarding situation develops, a person spends far less time engaging in activities that previously were enjoyed.
Obtain Proper Nutrition
When it comes to self-help strategies to benefit a person who hoards animals is to obtain appropriate nutrition. Time and again people who hoard animals fail to maintain a proper diet. Overcoming animal hoarding and leading a healthier life can be enhanced by focusing on proper nutrition on a daily basis.
Do What Is Best for the Animals
Finally, when it comes to important self-help strategies for a person who hoards, a focus must always remain on doing what is best for the animals. In the end, a person who has hoarded animals is able to live a healthier life free of hoarding by recognizing that making a change is in the best interests of the animals.